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As More Amusement Park Accidents Occur, Six Flags Denies Liability in Tragedy

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Arlington, TXAs more reports of amusement park accidents are made, and more accounts of serious injuries given, Six Flags has denied any liability in a tragic roller coaster accident in which a woman fell to her death. The horrific theme park accident occurred in July and resulted in the family of the victim filing a lawsuit against Six Flags Entertainment Corp.

On July 19, Rosa Esparza rode The Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas. According to court documents, while on the ride, Esparza was ejected from the car she was in and fell to her death. The lawsuit alleges that Six Flags knew about the risk of being ejected from a roller coaster when there is no safety belt.

“In fact, multiple times during the preceding thirty-five year period, passengers had fallen to their deaths while riding Six Flags’ roller coasters, only to have Six Flags add safety belts after it was too late,” the lawsuit alleges. Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that the accident was the result of Six Flags’ “negligence and gross negligence.”

Six Flags has now responded to the lawsuit. According to the Houston Chronicle (10/16/13), Six Flags said it is not responsible for the design or building of the ride. Furthermore, the company argues, it relies on an independent contractor - Gerstlauer Amusement Rides - to ensure the safety of the restraint system. Six Flags also said all staff was trained to maintain the ride.

But the lawsuit alleges that there were “disturbing abnormalities” on the ride, as found by an inspection following the accident. Those abnormalities included inconsistencies in the locking positions of the safety bars. There were also no lap seat belts and no shoulder harnesses on the ride, only a safety bar.

A report from the Arlington Police Department (as covered in the Houston Chronicle; 11/11/13) notes that it took firefighters an hour to find Esparza’s body, which ultimately landed on the roof of the Honky Tonk tunnel, and her body was nearly severed and partially wrapped around a support beam.

Meanwhile, two different incidents involving two rides called the Vortex at the North Carolina State Fair resulted in serious injuries. In the first incident, one ride called the Vortex went into motion while riders were exiting the vehicle. According to NBC News (10/28/13), riders were dropped from as high as 30 feet and five people were injured in the incident. The ride’s operator had allegedly tampered with the ride so safety devices could be bypassed.

Shortly after, a worker at the festival was seriously injured when part of a different ride called the Vortex fell on him as he dismantled the ride. The worker was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

The Esparza lawsuit is case number 342 268034 13, in the District Court, Tarrant County, Texas.


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